The ACLU on the Death Penalty

The death penalty is the ultimate denial of civil liberties. Since the death penalty was reinstated 30 years ago, 123 wrongfully convicted people have been found innocent and released from death row, and at least three innocent people have been executed.

Today, nearly 3,500 people are on death row in the U.S.; almost 20 percent of them, more than 650 people, are in California.

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties supports the national ACLU’s
Capital Punishment Project, the national nonprofit Death Penalty Focus, and other advocates working toward abolition of the death penalty in California and the nation.

Mistakes are made at every stage of the death penalty system. The quality of an individual’s legal defense, the race of both victim and alleged perpetrator, and the geographic location where the incident took place have more influence on who will be sentenced to die than the facts of the crime. The death penalty fails victims and fails to promote public safety.

The ACLU believes that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. Its discriminatory and flawed application violates our rights to equal justice and due process of law.